Thursday, August 14, 2008

Feeling the Weight of the World

Sometimes it feels like there is an elephant on top of me-literally. Today is one of those days. I have been fighting depression today. It is a difficult fight when I feel so beaten. I think one of the hardest things about this most difficult trial is the living part. 

Normal life is full of daily stresses. There are bills to pay, appointments to make, work to be done, children to worry about, money to be made, relationships to navigate... The list could go on for pages. Some of these stresses are hard to bear under normal circumstances. We have all felt stressed out about some of these things at some point.

I remember the night before taking the bar exam how stressed I was. I couldn't sleep or eat. I could feel the stress oozing out of every pore of my body. It was the most stressed I had ever been in my life. It was just a test, but it stressed me out like nothing before that had. I wasn't nearly as stressed about it once I got in and started taking it. Once I saw the questions I realized it really was just another test. 

It is hard for me to hold onto that perspective now, with this incredibly long and daunting test in front of me. It is hard to remember that in the end, this is just a test. Life is just a test. When we tally the score, it will make no difference what kind of house you had, how much money you earned, how many degrees you had, how many tests you passed. What will matter is whether we became more like Christ or not. Did we use our talents to help us become more like Christ? 

There are two things I have been telling myself today.

The first is that at the end of the day, I am still breathing. My kids and husband still love me. I still have my faith. All these trials are but the fast track to becoming what I am destined to become.

The second is a quote by Queen Victoria. I think I need to plaster this quote on my bedroom ceiling so it will be the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I see before going to bed. I also think I need to learn more about Queen Victoria. I am seeing she was quite a leader in my gooogle search of her. She had some fabulous quotes. Can anyone recommend a good biography on her? One that won't put me to sleep? In any case, in the darkest week of the South African war she uttered the following. A roommate gave me a copy of it long years ago; 

"Please understand that there is no depression in this house; we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist."

Amen Queen Victoria. Amen.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dont know what I would do without you. you make me feel better. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH. GFF CA

Shanan said...

What a candid post Steph. That's what we're all here for - to lift you up when you have bum days/hours/weeks/months. May you feel our love now!

Jori said...

Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I hope you take comfort in knowing that you are helping scores of people.

www.adorn-jewelry.blogspot.com said...

Oh Steph,
I could tell you were down today when I called. I wish I could drive over right now and give you a big hug. You are doing a good job. You are strong. You can go through this. I am sorry that the stresses of life can't just stop for a few years. I feel so stressed by regular life...i can't imagine trying to do it all while going through the grief you are facing. All I know is that if anyone CAN do it, YOU can!
i love you.
em

Harris Family said...

That is a powerful quote. Keeping that in mind will help us make it through life. Thank you for your words of encouragement. Even though you are feeling the stress and worries, you are always there to help everyone else. You are using your talents wisely. As difficult as this test is for you, you are on your way to becoming like Christ. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, I posted awhile back that I don't always agree with you but admire you nevertheless, and I wish now that I had been more encouraging and positive. I cannot imagine the strain you are under, and even without knowing you and your lovely family I am heartbroken for your loss. I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I know you say it and your family and friends say it, but just to repeat: You WILL see her again. You WILL see your family made whole once more. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning (to paraphrase scripture). I know you know this, but I am hoping the repetition gives you even an added bit of comfort.

About Queen Victoria: If you feel up to it, you might watch the film Mrs. Brown, from about 10 years ago. Judi Dench is Queen Victoria, mourning the loss of her beloved husband, and the movie is about her friendship (really, it is a friendship and not a romance) with a man named Brown. I remember really enjoying this movie and admiring both Victoria and Judi Dench's portrayal of her. I am an English teacher and I blow hot & cold on Victoria (and the Victorian period), but I liked this movie. Just a suggestion.

Melissa-Mc said...

You are amazing, strong and faithful! Feeling overwhelmed and depressed can be a daily struggle at times when life is going "smoothly" let alone when it is bumpy.

One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 58:3-4.

That you can lift the spirits of so many when you are going through such a trial is amazing. You are helping us all to be better, kinder and more patient parents. You are enduring well, and I admire you.

Heidi said...

Oh, Stephanie, I'm sorry today was hard for you.

I've never read a biography on Queen Victoria, but there's a fairly good TV movie called Victoria and Albert that is pretty clean and romantic (but does have some sexuality).

I hope you feel better and uplifted soon.

Brianne said...

I don't know you but found your blog through someone else. I just wanted to thank you for your incredibly strong testimony and for posting it, along with your trials, on your blog. I cannot begin to express how you have affected my life for the better.

Erin said...

Hello Again....
I have a quote that my family has lived by for years.... a quote that has carried us through many tough times.
I thought I would share it with you today after reading your post.
----------------------
When you come to the edge of all the light you have ever known,

and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown,

faith is knowing one of two things will happen:

There will be something solid to stand on,

or you will be taught how to fly.

deette said...

Just wanted to let you know that when Shanan was in 5th grade she played Queen Victoria in a school play! I remember doing some ringlets on the sides of her face and making a sash. When you see a picture a picture of Queen Victoria, Shanan was a little cuter!! (Hope that brings a smile to your face!)
much love

Jen said...

Hi Steph- You get this a lot I know but here it is again. . .you don't know me but I am SO grateful that I know of you. I am the mother of 3 little girls and I am constantly needing more patience! My bishop even made the comment at my mission farewell that of all the wonderful qualities I had, patience was not one of them :) How's that for truth from the pulpit?! I only discovered your blog a few days ago but I can tell you honestly that it has already helped the spirit of my home so much. The reason I chose to comment today is because I would love to do something for you if you will let me. I don't know if you are familiar with the vinyl lettering that you can put on walls and such, anyway I happen to have a little hobby/business and I make the vinyl word strips. I would absolutely love to make that Queen Victoria quote for you in any size to put anywhere you would like, and if there is any other phrase that would give you a lift to see I would absolutely LOVE to do it for you, maybe some fun ones for your girls rooms or something. I truly hope you will allow me to give a little something to you as a big thanks for the boost you have given me. Please email me and let me know jpjp1077@yahoo.com
Your sister in faith-
Jen Price
Heber City, UT

Soswift's said...

It's okay to allow yourself to be sad or depressed. I only wish you could have that weight lifted off you and all of us could carry it for you, but we can't and I'm sorry we can't. I'm impressed that you reach for a positive (Queen V) when you're dealing with a negative.

Ruthie said...

Hi Stephanie, I listened to a great dramatisation of a book by Juliet Ace called Young Victoria on BBC Radio. I think there still may be used cassettes available from amazon.co.uk but it seems it's not longer current. Also I think a film by the same title may be released later this year, having read reports of filming in the UK. Another good BBC dramatisation I heard was called Women of the Empire about wives of British diplomats all over the world. I think we can learn a lot from women everywhere and take encouragement and inspiration from their lives. You are certainly one those women who inspire me. I realise that just as true courage is action in the face of fear, true strength is shown not by those who can detatch themselves from sorrow but those who continue faithfully through it.
I love this quote about the Saviour in Isaiah 28:5

'He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces'

What a beautiful day that will be!

Lots of love...

Josh and Betsie said...

Oh my goodness...I was just driving today before I read your blog and I was thinking to myself...life is hard why are we really here? Each day goes by and it just is another day. What is the end goal...but then I got thinking again at what I know. I am here so I can return to my heavenly father and I am supposed to do what is right so I can return there. I am here to raise my children and help them pass this test here on earth. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie: I sometimes worry about you and the responsibility you might feel from this blog. Please know that even though we all love and cherish your inspiring messages we also love you, and are most concerned about your healing. Pain is part of healing so it's ok for you to have days when you feel depressed and sad. None of us out here in "blogland" expect more of you than you can offer. Please be kind to yourself, patient with yourself, giving yourself permission to have a bad day. You have given so much to all of us - please remember to give to you too. We all love you.

Anonymous said...

It's an agreement
I made with myself,
a long, long time ago.
Simply said, it states,
"Let each day
be it's own reward."

It's especially effective
when a day makes demands
that challenge the heart
and test the soul.
Days when life seems
some sort of
sad conspiracy,
and the world
is unkind and cold.

It helps then
to see each day
as a generous gift,
in and of itself.
And as long as life
still breathes in me,
I will accept every 24 hours
for it's own dear sake.

For without this day,
as trying as it
may prove to be,
tomorrow will never
come to me.

(I did not compose these words myself, but I have carried them with me forover 30 years)

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thank you for being so honest. I still think you are amazing. You are the same person you were before the accident, you just have certain parts of you greatly enhanced. Kim Meechudhone

Just me! said...

Awesome Post!!!

Liz's Blog said...

Huggs! We are here for you always. Please know you don't have to carry the weight of the world alone, that we are here with you. Love you tons. My prayers are with you and your family. Give me a call if you need anything.
Loves!

Julie said...

Amen is right--- I am really struggling and Amen to that. Thanks for sharing Stephanie, you just supported me more than you even though. Thank you for your testimony....

Be blessed, friend.

Julie
Sacramento

Tara said...

I came across this youtube video (a portion of a BYU devotional by Elder F Enzio Busche of the Seventy put to music and pictures) and I thought of you. It is just seven minutes and is well worth the time to get a little uplift!

http://www.youtube.com/v/snAjZ8mfoYw&hl=en&fs=1

PS> Like this little video your blog provides so many of us a little uplift each day - so thanks!

The Mom said...

Stephanie,

Several nights ago, I spent 3 hours reading your blog and sobbing. I am so sorry for your loss.

You are an amazing woman. I admire your strength. As I sat there reading, I thought to myself, I could never deal with that.

And then I remembered that on our own, no, we couldn't deal with it. Fortunately, we have the Holy Ghost to be with us and comfort us in times of grief.

I am so proud to see that this has drawn you closer to the gospel, because I have seen trials like this push people away.

You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

Sarah and Matt said...

I stop here everyday for my "daily scoop". Sometimes I feel like you have been with me all day and know just what I need to hear. Thank you for being so candid and open. You have taught me and countless others, many lessons in the last few months. I hope that you can find comfort in the love that people all around you and even the ones that only exist in the blog world, have for you and your family.

Em said...

I just wanted to say real quick how I don't really agree with the last quote, the way I read it is depression=defeat and I don't believe that. I hope you don't think so. I have struggled with depression probably my whole life even when I didn't know it I had it. I don't think depression=defeat I think it is just another trial so many have to go through. That quote just seems to me to say if you have depression you have failed and in no way is that what depression is. I just had to say something because I hope no one ever thinks that depression means defeat. I do love reading your blog and you are such an amazing woman. I admire your strength and the clarity you have though all of this. Emily

Jennie said...

Stephanie,
I typed in a comment, but must have pushed the wrong button, so if you get another comment saying basically the same thing- that's why. :)
I am sorry that you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. You are entitled to bad days. You are enduring well- even in your darkest hours. It is obvious by your writing, that you are becoming more like Christ every day. You are amazing. To paraphrase you- "Remember who you are and the Queen that Camille knows you can be." I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Jess said...

"What will matter is whether we became more like Christ or not. Did we use our talents to help us become more like Christ?"

WOW! I love this! I so needed to hear this as well as the quote you posted.

Anonymous said...

Another anonymous fan and first time poster. I just saw Evan Almighty for the first time recently. The film is not my favorite, but better than I thought it would be and full of some interesting messages. There were some words from Morgan Freeman that hit me hard especially after reading your post last night. Morgan Freeman, who plays God but is disguised as a waiter for this scene, is trying to explain to Evan's wife why Evan is building the ark. The story is not as important as his words:

"If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?" He goes through this same line of questioning with courage. And then says "If someone prays for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

Those words make me think twice about what I pray for. ;) They help me realize to focus more on the process of becoming than the immediate pain.

I wish I was technologically savy enough to pull a clip link for you, but if you get the movie, the scene is around the one hour mark. It's much better to hear the words with Morgan Freeman's gentle yet confident voice.

Here's to better days ahead . . .

Leslie said...

The weight of an elephant is an apt description. And, it helps to understand what so hard (for me) to understand the weight of the world that was on Christ that caused him to bleed through every pore.

I'm sorry you had a bad day. You are very entitled. There are things in this mortality that are very hard to go through and there's just no question about that you will feel pain and anguish. This is a delicate time for you, one that makes you more susceptible to the forces of the adversary, but one that will also cause you to grow and exceed anything you thought you were capable of doing, part of being refined. I'm so sorry you're missing your little girl today. The mind finds that so hard to comprehend. You're only human.

Hugs, Leslie

Lesley said...

Stephanie, I've been checking in on your blog periodically over the past two months. I too have experienced the death of a beloved daughter. In answer to your question today, I can't think of any biographies of Queen Victoria off the top of my head but there is a wonderful movie (easier to stay awake) called Victoria and Albert. I believe it is a BBC movie. Victoria's home (Windsor Castle) is my favorite place to visit in England. I hope you don't mind my leaving a comment.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie:

I just wanted to echo the sentiments of a few other posters.

Please don't allow this blog or, more specifically, others' blessings from it to become a burden to you.

As you so eloquently pointed out last week, this blog is your expression of what makes you feel good - things from which you draw strength.

No one expects you to be perfect and while many people, myself included, are inspired by your posts, these blessings are merely a serendipitious affect of your writing talent.

This blog must ultimately be for you as you take the most difficult test of your life -- a test without time limits.

Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to have bad days without apology. You are experiencing all mother's worst nightmare.

I hope I have been able to convey my heart. You have so much on your plate. Please do not feel - however unintentional - that you have a greater responsibility than that which now faces you and your family.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the blessings that we have felt are a delightful benefit to us and hopefully not felt as a burden or expectation by you.

Many blessings to you & yours ....

kathryn_m

Darleen said...

Stephanie--don't forget we all love you and continue to pray for your family. I wish I was in town to give you a little back massage and treat you to a pedicure. I know it's little but sometimes it helps take your mind off things.

Mimi's Toes said...

You will never believe how much I needed to read this post today. I have never experienced a loss such as you have, but I have been going thru depression and I will write out this quote to put by my bedside. You minister to me daily. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Marleen said...

Awesome quote. I think a good deal of us could use that quote hung up in our homes. Depression can be so suffocating in a sneak up on you kind of way.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie,
You are the only one that can answer this question. But honestly and truly you might need an antidepressant. There are many of us who have had to use them during hard times. It does not mean you are weak. And it does not mean the Savior can't help you. Because, He obviously is. It also doesn't mean you will have to take it the rest of your life. Please don't be offended by this comment. I am a mother of adult children and have faced many challenges in that calling. So, as a mother of adult children, one who could be your mother-Think about it. I have a testimony of the gospel. I know the Atonement works. I KNOW it. But I can also see that sometimes we need other things to help us through trials. You are a precious wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Take care of yourself. My prayers ae with you and your family daily. With much love....

jilljohnandhope said...

I pray that today is a happy day...

Jennifer said...

I haven't lost a child, but I have been through the grief process. The day you describe sounds like a very normal part of the grief process to me. Be patient with yourself as you heal. Allow yourself time to lie down, pull the covers over your head and cry. You have been so strong, but sometimes you have to just let yourself feel what you feel.......you've been through so much, and you've suffered a great loss. Even the Savior wept when He lost a loved one. It's very normal when you're grieving for everyday things to become overwhelming. Just take it as a signal that it's time to pamper yourself a little and allow yourself to feel what you feel. It's all part of the healing process.

I hope you don't mind some advice from one of the many strangers who appreciate you so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Your whole family's names are in the temple (probably more than one.) I pray you will feel extra angels holding you up. You are being prayed for around the clock.
Love the quote.

Anonymous said...

You are a wonderful example to me. I have 5 children and can honestly say that since finding your blog I have hugged them a little more, used a softer voice, been a little more patient, and just enjoyed the mommy moments a little more. Thank you for opening your world to us all so we all can learn from your wisdom. Camille sure had a special mission in helping so many become better people. And she sure has a special Mommy. I hope Oprah does a show on you someday--because you truly are touching so many lives as you share your own. Thank you for letting us all into your world. The effects are immeasurable.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you had a really hard day. We all love you and your family and pray for you.

I suddenly suffered from post partum depression with one of my children. I had know idea what was going on with me and why I couldn't control it. Why I couldn't pray it away. And then it went from just "post partum" to feeling long term.

As I do all I can to recover and get better from it, I still don't understand it. I know it's a "sickness", but it is a sickness I think Satan must love turning into one of his "tools" against us. Instantly it went from a mental sickness to a spiritual one. (if that makes any sense?) I couldn't get over why I didn't feel any control over my happiness. And had to humble myself to a pill taken everyday for that.

I guess I felt like writing all this because, before Camille's accident I felt that even though I was feeling at my lowest -mentally & physically & spiritually- Somewhere I still had hope that I could be healed. I wasn't going to let "depression defeat me"... but most days I was close, it was a small speck of hope.

After Camille's accident, her sacrifice, and mission ~ I want you to know that it has given me knew life and energy to overcome this challenge. I have felt more in control of my happiness then the past two years of sudden depression. I have a new perspective on life and my individual self worth.

How did she do that? :) Thank you Camille and thank you Stephanie for writing your "therapy".